The Buzz: May 5, 2003

Oracle is developing a tool to help customers self-manage licensing compliance.

Oracle Tool Would Manage Licenses
Jacqueline Woods

Oracle is developing a tool to help customers self-manage licensing compliance, according to Jacqueline Woods, vice president of Global Pricing and Licensing Strategy.

The purpose of the tool—which Woods described as being between an idea and development—is to flag licensing compliance problems. "There tends to be a lack of coordination between the person who procures the software and a particular IT or other department that will implement it," Woods said in an interview with eWEEK late last month.

The tool will safeguard licensing revenues for Oracle, but Oracle also plans to design the tool so that it keeps an eye out for customers best interests, Woods said.

Electrical Engineer Unemployment Rate Up

The unemployment rate for electrical engineers shot up to an unprecedented 7 percent in the first quarter, up from 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate stands a full percentage point above the quarterly figure for all workers.

The BLS report shows that the unemployment rate is 7.5 percent for computer software engineers and 6.5 percent for computer hardware engineers. The rate for computer programmers is 6.7 percent.

One bright spot is the employment picture for technology workers overall, with the unemployment rate for computer scientists—including systems analysts—dropping from 5.1 to 4.9 percent.

The total number of unemployed technology workers in those job categories is 172,000, with 62,000 unemployed computer software engineers forming the bulk of that group.

Regarding the grim figures, the professional group IEEE-USA issued a statement calling for a rollback of the H-1B visa quota to its historical level of 65,000, down from its current level of 195,000.

The group also voiced concern over potential misuse of the L-1 intracompany visa transfer program, which brought 329,000 workers to the United States in 2001.

Ericsson to Slash Jobs; Handheld Sales Slump

Ericsson last week announced it will cut 7,000 more jobs as the wireless equipment maker stepped up its reorganization.

The company wants to reduce its work force to around 47,000 from a current level of nearly 61,000. Previously, Ericsson said it would trim its work force to 54,000 by years end. Three years ago, the vendor had more than 100,000 employees.

In related news, global handheld computer sales fell 11 percent, to 2.8 million units, in the first quarter, with Palm losing market share but remaining twice as large as Hewlett-Packard, Gartner Dataquest reported last week.

Sony and Toshiba showed the strongest growth among established vendors, with growth rates of 60 percent and 276 percent, respectively, the research group reported. Dell, which entered the handheld market last year, went from zero market share to 4.9 percent.

Digital Attacks Near Record Number

The number of successful digital attacks last month climbed to 19,220, short of the all-time mark of 19,658 set in January, reported the mi2g SIPS database.

The number of attacks one year ago in April was just 4,688.

The attacks last month exploited war protests and SARS, mi2g reported. The number of hacker groups active during the month was 387. The most- attacked countries were the United States followed by the United Kingdom.

The cost of the damage has reached a record high of $10 billion to $12.3 billion in productivity and recovery costs.